Fredonia residents blame DPW for loss of creek

Some village of Fredonia residents demand a change of action to the way the Department of Public Works has handled and allegedly continues to handle the drying up of a small creek that runs between Holmes Place and the D&F Plaza.

Several people spoke out during Monday’s village board meeting demanding a plan to replenish water to the creek and help restore the original ecosystem there, which has been neglected for years due to the installation of a storm sewer. Residents complained they have asked for action for years, and results continue to remain elusive.

“In 2011, we appeared at a village board meeting to ask the village to restore the water flow into the creek,” Cathy Steger of Middlesex Drive said. “Over more than three years, the problem has not been solved. This problem was created by the village. The people along this creek are being deprived of a property asset, and vegetation along the creek depends on water the creek provides.”

Bud Woloszyn of Middlesex Drive agreed, adding he wishes to see some accountability for the loss of the creek.

“It’s not like this is a new issue,” he stressed. “Here we are again, three years later. Nothing ever gets done.”

Steger explained several years ago, the DPW installed a receiver at the east end of Holmes Place which connects with the storm sewer pipe that proceeds west to Central Avenue. The receiver apparently eliminated water flow into the creek, which runs under Holmes Place and through properties on Carol Avenue, Birchwood Drive and Middlesex Drive, eventually running under the D&F Plaza.

Village officials attempted to address residents’ concerns by installing 30 feet of 6-inch pipe from the receiver to the creek bed. People who attended the meeting said that pipe must be larger, since it constantly gets blocked by stones and debris, and they accused the DPW of neglecting to unplug that pipe when necessary.

“We were skeptical that the pipe would be too small, but that was the largest pipe that (DPW Supervisor Jack Boland) was willing to install,” Steger said, adding the pipe worked for only a short period of time and currently remains plugged.

Boland replied by explaining the whole purpose of the storm sewer was to address constant flooding down through that area and up to the fairgrounds. He added a “tremendous problem downstream” has been alleviated, as a result, so a larger pipe could not suffice.

“Unfortunately, I apologize for not getting down there to constantly keep cleaning it out,” he said.

Peter Briggs of Birchwood Drive disagreed with Boland’s remarks on the pipe’s diameter.

“A larger pipe is not going to create any problem downstream, particularly if that pipe is below the pipe that currently goes down Holmes Place, because if that pipe gets filled with water, the overflow will go down Holmes into the main storm sewer line,” Briggs insisted.

Mayor Stephen Keefe seemed to understand residents’ frustrations by saying he would look into what the board can do to fix the situation. That fix may include installing a larger pipe and/or setting up a schedule for the DPW to unblock the current pipe, which is what some residents would like to see.

“We were hoping that pipe would be the solution (to restore the creek), but that doesn’t sound like it’s the solution that works,” Keefe remarked.

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